Free Markets, Free People

A story of how this administration misuses “science”

But first a fond farewell to Piers Morgan – don’t let the doorknob hit you in the ass as you head back to the UK, you jackwagon.  Oh, and would you mind taking Alex Baldwin and that Beiber thing with you?

Now to the point.  One of the things that the Obama administration told us in the beginning is that it planned on putting “science” back in its proper place as something serious and non-political (an obvious political shot at the opposition who, candidate Obama claimed, used it for political purposes).

How’s that gone?  Well we’ve watched the global warming bunkem.  And the Keystone Pipeline nonsense.  But here’s a story that will demonstrate best how much of a lie (and I don’t know how you describe what’s happened any other way) that original promise was:

A case in point is the story of DOI science adviser and scientific integrity officer, Dr. Paul Houser, who found out that by simply doing his job can be hazardous to one’s career. Dr. Houser is an expert in hydrology who was hired by DOI’s Bureau of Reclamation to evaluate scientific data used in the department’s decision making process. He was assigned several Western State projects including a scheme to remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River in Northern California—the largest dam removal project in U.S. history. When a summary of science posted on the web to support DOI’s claim for removal of the dams omitted several crucial factors from expert panel reports, Dr. Houser brought his concerns to his superiors. He was repeatedly told to refrain from sharing his concerns through electronic communication, which could be subject to Freedom of Information Act discovery.

Dr. Houser learned firsthand that policy was driving the science, rather than the other way around, when he was told by his superiors at DOI, “Secretary Salazar wants to remove those dams. So your actions here aren’t helpful.”

According to the DOI the premise for Klamath River dams removal is to restore Coho salmon spawning habitat above the dams. However, official DOI documents reveal scientific concerns that dam removal may, in fact, result in species decline based on millions of tons of toxic sediment build up behind the dams that will make its way to the ocean. Water temperature increases without the dams could also negatively impact the salmon. These studies were ignored. Concerns about the human toll and impact to local Klamath Basin communities were also brushed aside. Those most interested in the well-being of the environment they live and work in, were given a backseat to special interests thousands of miles away.

The Klamath hydroelectric dams provide clean inexpensive energy to thousands of local residents who will be forced to pay much higher premiums if the dams are removed because California has strict new laws for use of renewable energy. The town of Happy Camp sits on the banks of the Klamath River and could be wiped out with seasonal flooding without the dams. Once Coho salmon are introduced into the upper Klamath, farmers and ranchers will be faced with water use restrictions and invasive government regulation of private land. The economic impact will be devastating, property values will depreciate and the agriculture community, often operating on slim profit margins, will be subjected to the fate of the once vibrant logging industry which fell victim to the spotted owl crusades.

Last year, Dr. Houser raised these concerns and was subsequently fired by the DOI. “I put my concerns forward and immediately thereafter I was pushed out of the organization,” he stated. The agency sent a clear message to the rest of their employees and scientists – Salazar’s dam busting agenda cannot be subject to any internal scientific scrutiny. Goebbels would be proud. Truth must be repressed when it contradicts the objective.

Dr. Houser did the right thing. He did his job. His integrity as a scientist was more important than a paycheck. But he remains concerned about his colleagues in DOI, “There are a lot of good scientists that work for the government but they are scared, they are scared that what happened to me might happen to them. This is an issue (about) the honesty and transparency of government and an issue for other scientists in government who want to speak out.”

Those fish have an advocate.  That advocate is named Salazar.  Salazar has decided he wants a certain outcome.  “Science’s” role is to justfy it.  Never mind the human toll.  Never mind the economic toll.  Never mind any of the toll.  Ken Salazar and his radical environmental cronies will feel just peachy about themselves if they accomplish this … even if the fish actually die as a result.  Because, well because this is how nature did it to begin with, people are pests and it is more important that we let fish spawn where they once did than worry about how it will effect the pests.  And by George he has the power of government and “science” behind him to do as he wishes.  Houser didn’t toe the line, had actual scientific integrity and spoke out.  And was fired.

Frankly, this doesn’t surprise me a bit.



10 Responses to A story of how this administration misuses “science”

  • Hmmm what was that Eisenhower had to say about this sort of thing? Military-industrial complex? No, something else, can’t quite remember.
    Anyway, you should all thank your lucky stars that us scientists are all taught to be angels beyond reproach with a complete disinterest in politics, power or prestige.

    • “Anyway, you should all thank your lucky stars that us scientists are all taught to be angels beyond reproach with a complete disinterest in politics, power or prestige.”
      (Donning his Karnak the magnificent turban)
      I sense you have a bridge to sell in New York.

  • I remember decades ago listening to a debate on glass bottle recycling laws in the Western states.
    The person arguing against the laws pointed out that in the net, due to the lack of refractories in the West, the whole exercise would be a net drag on the environment as glass would have to be transported long distances.
    The pro-recycling law religionist did not dispute any part of that.  She simply insisted that recycling was the right thing to do.
    The druid religion of the Collective has never been based in science.  It HATES science and modernity.  It also HATES people.

    • The druid religion of the Collective has never been based in science.  It HATES science and modernity.  It also HATES people.

      I’m reminded of the ending of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six.  While people are known for working to preserve nature, nature does not return the favor.

      • Don’t know who gets credit for this, but…
        “We are worried that the Polar Bears have enough ice.  A hundred years ago, we’d be worried about how to cook them.”
        I would add that when you are in the presence of one, you wonder how to avoid being eaten.

  • There is a potential the EPA will stop all economic activity (basically farming) in the western 1/3 of Kansas.  The chances would increase if EPA declares the Prairie Chicken endangered as expected.  Kansas is girding for a legal battle.
    THIS IS NOT WHAT THE FOUNDING FATHERS EXPECTED.  You are right if you are thinking right now that science is what the hacks in the EPA and Obama think it is.  The fate of the western 1/3 of Kansas rests with Obama, not science.

  • Wow !  I looked up this story.
    Mother Jones did this story 2 years ago.

  • Jeff,
    You are right in that we did not get hope, infact, I feel less hope than I have had in a long time.
    I thought he was a socialist before he was elected.  Wrong, a communist would have been correct.